The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America

Posted in Barack Obama, Books, Media Archive, Monographs, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-02-21 02:16Z by Steven

The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2016-02-02
368 pages
6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Hardcover ISBN: 9780544387669
eBook ISBN: 9780544386426
Paperback ISBN: 9780544811805

Michael Eric Dyson, Professor of Sociology
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

Michael Eric Dyson explores the powerful, surprising way the politics of race have shaped Barack Obama’s identity and groundbreaking presidency. How has President Obama dealt publicly with race—as the national traumas of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott have played out during his tenure? What can we learn from Obama’s major race speeches about his approach to racial conflict and the black criticism it provokes?

Dyson explores whether Obama’s use of his own biracialism as a radiant symbol has been driven by the president’s desire to avoid a painful moral reckoning on race. And he sheds light on identity issues within the black power structure, telling the fascinating story of how Obama has spurned traditional black power brokers, significantly reducing their leverage.

President Obama’s own voice—from an Oval Office interview granted to Dyson for this book—along with those of Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Andrew Young, and Maxine Waters, among others, add unique depth to this profound tour of the nation’s first black presidency.

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Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music

Posted in Arts, Biography, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Novels, Women on 2015-06-23 00:37Z by Steven

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2015-03-31
48 pages
Hardcover ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780544102293
eBook ISBN-13/ EAN: 9780544102286

Margarita Engle

Rafael López

In this picture book bursting with vibrance and rhythm, a girl dreams of playing the drums in 1930s Cuba, when the music-filled island had a taboo against female drummers.

Girls cannot be drummers. Long ago on an island filled with music, no one questioned that rule—until the drum dream girl. In her city of drumbeats, she dreamed of pounding tall congas and tapping small bongós. She had to keep quiet. She had to practice in secret. But when at last her dream-bright music was heard, everyone sang and danced and decided that both girls and boys should be free to drum and dream.

Inspired by the childhood of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who broke Cuba’s traditional taboo against female drummers, Drum Dream Girl tells an inspiring true story for dreamers everywhere.

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Divided To The Vein: A Journey into Race and Family

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Media Archive, Monographs on 2013-02-18 17:48Z by Steven

Divided To The Vein: A Journey into Race and Family

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
1996
320 pages
Hardcover ISBN-10: 0151931070; ISBN-13: 978-0151931071

Scott Minerbrook

Scott Minerbrook’s parents hail from opposite ends of the cultural spectrum. His father was a pampered only child born into Chicago’s aspiring black bourgeoisie, while his mother was an idealistic girl from a large family of poor white Missouri farmers. Minerbrook grew up in the 1950s and ’60s, in a world that was fighting the grim realities of racial separatism and willful ignorance with the ideals of equality and integration. At home, his parents fought each other and a host of personal demons, even as they raised four boys, excelled in their careers, and moved from Chicago, to Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and finally to the leafy suburbs of Connecticut. Minerbrook completed his schooling at Harvard’s burgeoning African-American studies department and went on to raise a family of his own. But by the time he reached his late thirties, he was no longer satisfied with living an emotional half-life, rejecting and rejected by so much of his flesh and blood. He set out for his mother’s hometown in the Botheel of Missouri, determined to claim the white relatives who had refused to recognize his existence. Despite their desire to “keep things just as they are”, he knew that bringing down the daunting barrier called race was essential to his humanity and to theirs. In the course of his journey, Minerbrook takes a hard look at his upbringing and the lives of his parents. He digs deep to explore the meaning of family, the roots of identity, and the reasons why we lay so many basic human problems at the door of race. Lyrically written, painfully honest, psychologically and socially astute, this powerful memoir challenges us all to confront the divisive cult of race and to move beyond it.

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Thrall, Poems

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Poetry, United States on 2012-09-03 16:20Z by Steven

Thrall, Poems

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2012-08-28
96 pages
6 x 9
Hardcover ISBN-13/ EAN:9780547571607; ISBN-10:0547571607
E-Book ISBN-13/ EAN:9780547840420; ISBN-10:054784042X

Natasha Trethewey, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing
Emory University

By unflinchingly charting the intersections of public and personal history, Thrall explores the historical, cultural, and social forces—across time and space—that determine the roles consigned to a mixed-race daughter and her white father. In a vivid series of poems about interracial marriage depicted in the Casta Paintings of Colonial Mexico, Trethewey investigates the philosophical assumptions that underpin Enlightenment notions of taxonomy and classification, exposing the way they encode ideas of race within our collective imagination. While tropes about captivity, bondage, inheritance, and enthrallment permeate the collection, Trethewey, by reflecting on a series of small estrangements from her poet father, comes to an understanding of how, as father and daughter, they are part of the ongoing history of race in America.

Thrall not only confirms that Natasha Trethewey is one of our most gifted and necessary poets but that she is also one of our most brilliant and fearless.

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Native Guard: Poems

Posted in Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Poetry, United States on 2012-09-02 23:41Z by Steven

Native Guard: Poems

Mariner Books an Imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2007-04-03
64 pages
Trim Size: 5.50 x 8.25
Paperback ISBN-13/EAN: 9780618872657; ISBN-10: 0618872655

Natasha Trethewey, Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing
Emory University

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Through elegiac verse that honors her mother and tells of her own fraught childhood, Natasha Trethewey confronts the racial legacy of her native Deep South—where one of the first black regiments, the Louisiana Native Guards, was called into service during the Civil War. Trethewey’s resonant and beguiling collection is a haunting conversation between personal experience and national history.

Excerpt:

Miscegenation

In 1965 my parents broke two laws of Mississippi;
they went to Ohio to marry, returned to Mississippi.

They crossed the river into Cincinnati, a city whose name
begins with a sound like sin, the sound of wrong – mis in Mississippi.

A year later they moved to Canada, followed a route the same
as slaves, the train slicing the white glaze of winter, leaving Mississippi.

Faulkner’s Joe Christmas was born in winter, like Jesus, given his name
for the day he was left at the orphanage, his race unknown in Mississippi.

My father was reading War and Peace when he gave me my name.
I was born near Easter, 1966, in Mississippi.

When I turned 33 my father said, It’s your Jesus year – you’re the same
age he was when he died
. It was spring, the hills green in Mississippi.

I know more than Joe Christmas did. Natasha is a Russian name –
though I’m not; it means Christmas child, even in Mississippi.

 

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We the Animals, A Novel

Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2012-05-24 17:08Z by Steven

We the Animals, A Novel

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2011-08-30
144 pages
5 x 8
Hardcover ISBN-13/ EAN:9780547576725; ISBN-10:0547576722
Paperback ISBN-13/ EAN:9780547844190; ISBN-10:0547844190
E-Book ISBN-13/ EAN:9780547577005; ISBN-10:0547577001

Justin Torres

Three brothers tear their way through childhood— smashing tomatoes all over each other, building kites from trash, hiding out when their parents do battle, tiptoeing around the house as their mother sleeps off her graveyard shift. Paps and Ma are from Brooklyn—he’s Puerto Rican, she’s white—and their love is a serious, dangerous thing that makes and unmakes a family many times.

Life in this family is fierce and absorbing, full of chaos and heartbreak and the euphoria of belonging completely to one another. From the intense familial unity felt by a child to the profound alienation he endures as he begins to see the world, this beautiful novel reinvents the coming-of-age story in a way that is sly and punch-in-the-stomach powerful.

Written in magical language with unforgettable images, this is a stunning exploration of the viscerally charged landscape of growing up, how deeply we are formed by our earliest bonds, and how we are ultimately propelled at escape velocity toward our futures.

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The Wind Done Gone

Posted in Books, Media Archive, Novels, Slavery on 2011-06-25 21:10Z by Steven

The Wind Done Gone

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2001
224 pages
Trim Size: 5.50 x 8.25
ISBN-13/EAN: 9780618219063
ISBN-10: 0618219064

Alice Randall

In this daring and provocative literary parody which has captured the interest and imagination of a nation, Alice Randall explodes the world created in Gone With the Wind, a work that more than any other has defined our image of the antebellum South. Taking sharp aim at the romanticized, whitewashed mythology perpetrated by this southern classic, Randall has ingeniously conceived a multilayered, emotionally complex tale of her own—that of Cynara, the mulatto half-sister, who, beautiful and brown and born into slavery, manages to break away from the damaging world of the Old South to emerge into full life as a daughter, a lover, a mother, a victor. The Wind Done Gone is a passionate love story, a wrenching portrait of a tangled mother-daughter relationship, and a book that “celebrates a people’s emancipation not only from bondage but also from history and myth, custom and stereotype” (San Antonio Express-News).

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The Shadow King

Posted in Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Novels on 2010-08-26 22:29Z by Steven

The Shadow King

Mariner Books an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2004-11-23
320 pages
Trim Size: 5.50 x 8.25
Paperback ISBN-13/EAN: 9780618485369; ISBN-10: 0618485368

Jane Stevenson, Regius Chair of Humanity
University of Aberdeen

In The Shadow King, Jane Stevenson illuminates the world of the intriguing Balthasar Stuart, the secret biracial child born of the illicit love between a queen of Bohemia and an exiled African prince. A gifted young doctor in the late seventeenth century, Balthasar struggles with very contemporary issues of identity, brought into play by his difficult heritage. Driven out of Holland by the plague, he makes his way first to the raffish, cynical world of Restoration London, where he encounters Aphra Behn, the English spy and sometimes playwright. He leaves to seek prosperity in colonial Barbados, a society marked by slavery and savage racism. Utterly absorbing and deeply perceptive, The Shadow King brings the past radiantly to life in people’s habits of speech, their food and fashions, and their medical practices.

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Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

Posted in Books, History, Media Archive, Novels, United States on 2010-03-05 18:12Z by Steven

Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

Clarion Books an Imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2004-05-24
224 pages
Trim Size: 5.50 x 8.25
Hardcover ISBN-13/EAN: 9780618439294 ; $15.00
Hardcover ISBN-10: 0618439293

Gary D. Schmidt, Professor of English
Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Winner of the Newbery Honor and Printz Honor.

It only takes a few hours for Turner Buckminster to start hating Phippsburg, Maine. No one in town will let him forget that he’s a minister’s son, even if he doesn’t act like one. But then he meets Lizzie Bright Griffin, a smart and sassy girl from a poor nearby island community founded by former slaves. Despite his father’s-and the town’s-disapproval of their friendship, Turner spends time with Lizzie, and it opens up a whole new world to him, filled with the mystery and wonder of Maine’s rocky coast. The two soon discover that the town elders, along with Turner’s father, want to force the people to leave Lizzie’s island so that Phippsburg can start a lucrative tourist trade there. Turner gets caught up in a spiral of disasters that alter his life-but also lead him to new levels of acceptance and maturity. This sensitively written historical novel, based on the true story of a community’s destruction, highlights a unique friendship during a time of change. Author’s note.

Read a book review by the 7th grade students at Bath Middle School in Bath, Maine here.

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